Innovation in qualitative research methods: a narrative review

  • Wiles R
  • Pain H
  • Crow G
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This paper reviews claims for methodological innovation in qualitative research. It comprises a review of 57 papers published between 2000-2009 in which claims to innovation in qualitative methods have been made. These papers encompass creative methods, narrative methods, mixed methods, online/e-research methods, focus groups and software tools. The majority of claims of innovation are made for new methods or designs, with the remainder claiming adaptations or adoption of existing methodological innovations. However, the evidence provided of wholly new methodologies or designs was limited, and in several papers such claims turned out to relate either to adaptations to existing methods, or to the transfer and adaptation of methods from other disciplines, primarily from arts and humanities. We argue that over-claiming innovation in the sense of the development of a wholly new methodology or design has a number of important implications that are potentially detrimental to qualitative social science.

Author-supplied keywords

  • ha statistics
  • hd28 management. industrial management
  • pn literature (general)

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  • Rose Wiles

  • Helen Pain

  • Graham Crow

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